Ukraine on corruption index: “Corruption at almost every level”

Status: 06/24/2022 08:51 a.m

Bribery runs through many areas in Ukraine – only one country in Europe is more corrupt. The prospect of joining the EU could be an incentive to improve.

By Rebecca Barth, ARD Studio Warsaw

Ukraine is almost the most corrupt country in Europe. At least according to Transparency International’s Corruption Index. There it ranks 122nd out of 180. Only in one country on the European continent does it look worse when it comes to corruption – in Russia.

Maxim reports that this is a problem that Ukrainians are painfully aware of. “It’s not rocket science that we have corruption on a large scale. The difference between the European Union and Ukraine is that corruption occurs at almost every level of government, from the little people to the potential prime minister.”

Maxim is a young man from Kyiv who is currently collecting drones and supplies for the army. Many of his friends are involved in humanitarian aid. With a special permit, men can also leave the country for a short time. At the border, Maxim and his friends had an unpleasant experience: “Our friends’ car was stopped at the border. Some of the border guards demanded money for entry. But the case was quickly resolved, the Ukrainian police came and arrested the border guards. “

Corruption in almost every area of ​​life

Border guards demanding bribes, humanitarian supplies being sold – these are stories that have been circulating in Ukraine since the beginning of the war. They are difficult to verify. But in a country where corruption runs through almost every area of ​​life, many people find them believable.

The fact that police officers intervene and act already indicates improvements. Anton Martschuk from the anti-corruption center explains: “We are making progress, maybe not as fast as we would all like, but it shows that we are moving in the right direction.”

Passports and documents can now be applied for online. Less physical contact with employees in the office also means fewer opportunities to pay bribes. The healthcare system has been reformed so that patients no longer have to pay for a referral. And several institutions were set up to curb corruption. However, critics call them inefficient.

“Average EU level” as the target

Marchuk says: “We have the opportunity to do more so that corruption reaches the average EU level. We can do that, especially now that we have a clear goal that we didn’t have before. Now we have the prospect to become a member of the EU in the future.”

Quite a few European countries are more pessimistic. A report by the Danish Foreign Ministry even alleges that Kyiv has no will to fight corruption, reports the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. Such harsh criticism has not been heard in Ukraine since the beginning of the war. And the data from Transparency International also shows that something has improved in Ukraine over the past eight years.

Maxim also notices that: “Before 2014 it was terrible. On the way from Kyiv to Kharkiv you were always stopped by the police and they asked for money. That’s no longer the case.”

When mass protests began on the Maidan in Kyiv nine years ago, fighting corruption was one of the movement’s central demands. Since then, many people have been fighting a sometimes frustrating battle against the ingrained system. A vigilant civil society has emerged. It is ready to take the long road towards EU membership.

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